Reforming the Self #15
Channel: Tom Facchine
File Size: 35.28MB
Bismillah R Rahman r Rahim Al hamdu Lillahi Rabbil Alameen wa Salatu was Salam ala Ashraful MBA almost serene Medina who could was in a Muhammad Ali he of course Salah was asleep alumna alumna we may have found no in fact that in that island in US was even there yet have that I mean,
we started a new chapter
that er II that McHattie machete are all of us are hanging over him a lot.
And today he's going to talk about
the nature of Allah's blessings, the types of Allah's blessings.
And he begins this chapter by saying that, of course, there's no counting Allah's blessings as he himself subhanaw taala says in the Quran, it's impossible to enumerate or to count or to
comprehensively account for all of Allah's blessings. However, we can say that we find that most of the blessings that Allah has given us, they fall in, they tend to fall into certain broad categories.
And his whole purpose. You're asking, Okay, well, this seems off topic, right? He's telling us about obtaining these elite qualities, developing ourselves for the Latha. Why all of a sudden,
while the sudden is he going off topic on a tangent and talking about Allah's blessings and the different types of blessings? It has to do with an earlier doubt. Right, we said that, also honey is kind of responding to certain types of doubts that would prevent people or dissuade people from embarking upon this journey. One of those doubts was, well, I can't really change. Right. And so he spent a lot of time dismantling and kind of refuting that sort of line of thinking by elaborating, and delineating, okay, what are the things that we can change? And what aren't the things that we can change? How much success can we hope to have in this project of ours? And so, now he's going to
kind of a similar doubt, but coming from a different angle, if people take an overly deterministic view,
and they think that well, everything's already predetermined anyway.
Why should I even have to? Isn't everything the color of Allah already? Isn't everything predestined by Allah? subhanaw taala? What does it matter if I try or don't try, it's all going to end up the same. And so he's going to wade into this doubt by
the talking about the blessings of Allah and analyzing them through a particular lens. That lens is, is this particular blessing something that is given to us without any sort of effort on our part, or is it something that requires our efforts and our obtaining right to something that we earn
Okay, and it's not always black and white, as we will soon see but his whole point, his whole broader point, by going into this little aside, is to say that the Vidya excuse me the McHattie machete are the elites qualities that you need in order to fulfill your purpose? They are not merely given automatically. Okay, there, though many of Allah's blessings are the macadam machete are the elite qualities and where they lead Jana is something that has to be earned. There's a price to pay for it. Like Allah says in the end of Surah Toba, he says that
in the law hashtag mean and what we need, he says Allah has purchased from the believers.
From there, he has purchased their bodies and their wealth, so that they may have gender
right? He uses the term purchased stood up. Alright, so this is something that requires an active transaction. There's something requires Oh yeah, what about freewill? Exactly, exactly. And we could go into you could also come into it from the other angle about free will, right. And we discussed in previous classes I think especially in the Saturday class about who is a lot the kind of how a laws knowing what is going to happen does not in any way diminish the the the importance or the value of your choice in doing that thing, because to know that something is going to happen is different from from choosing the actual things in front of you which from your
perspective are unknown how they're going to turn out in the first place. But he approaches it from a slightly different angle in this particular chapter, he's going to look at, let's enumerate, let's spend some time thinking about the blessings of Allah, all of these types of blessings. And then Let's meditate upon which of those blessings obviously, are just from the tow vehicle, a law that from a laws, benevolence, and which of them have to be earned, and which of them are kind of a mixture between the two.
So, he puts forth
five categories of blessings. Right, and as he said in the first sentence of his chapter, it's not meant to be exhaustive, but hopefully this will capture or at least organize in our minds, the majority of blessings that we see Allah giving us
the first of which is eternal happiness.
The most supreme blessing the most noble blessing the highest blessing there is
is not worldly it doesn't belong to this short life it's something far beyond that. It is something never ending
success in the afterlife
eternal enduring happiness
out of all good things
this is the only pure good thing that is incorruptible can't be used in a negative way can't be misled or misapplied or misappropriate
and all other good
leads to this greater ultimate good
it has no hint no taint no contamination with any evil whatsoever what makes eternal what makes paradise Jana so great
he says four things but I want to see what we can come up with to what in your mind somebody they have no idea about religion about faith or about paradise or anything
they say well what's so great about paradise
How would you motivate somebody
to want to pursue paradise what would you tell them?
What's so special about paradise? No evil internal or external? eternal living free from disease very good. Anything else
peace get through with the ones you love yeah salon
Allah yes the prophets great people in history Mashallah.
eternal happiness, never needing anything all needs fulfilled the SLM I think we cover all of the author's points in different slightly different language. So the first thing that he says, which was mentioned by you all, is eternal life. Okay, baka Bella Fana. Remaining with no annihilation with no end with no
Why is this so significant? One of the things one of the hardest things that looms over us in this life is that we know that it will end
and it is something that gives us urgency. It's something that scares us. It's something that
makes some of us sad. It's something that makes some of us despair. Even to know that all of the beautiful things in this life are going to be
over someday you're going to be in the ground, your consciousness, at least the way that you know it is going to end. Especially the people who don't believe in the afterlife or don't believe in Allah. They think that that is the finality that's it. There's nothing after that you're wearing food and your molecules are going to just decompose just like anything else.
And we don't know in Atlanta. Oh, che family? Very good. Yes. We don't know when it will end. So it's constantly this thing that's looming over us. How does that make us feel? Knowing that this thing, literally everything we know,
could be over at any second?
That makes someone uneasy.
Right, that makes somebody anxious. Very good, excellent word. Yes.
And we know that paradise is we're going to see removes every single anxiety, worry incompleteness.
And so the most primary one that it has to address is this, this anxiety, the anxiety, of being over the anxiety of an end the anxiety of every single thing that we know, just being for a short time. And after that, our afterlife being like our lives before we were born, we don't remember anything that's scared to imagine that there is nothing after. And so what makes paradise so special, the first thing is eternal life.
It addresses our fundamental existential desire to exist, that security, that peace of mind to know that no, you're here to stay, this is going to keep going maybe in a different way than we are familiar with from our experience on Earth. But that there's more than this.
When you look at people in the dunya,
people who either don't believe in the sense of they don't think that it's true, or they don't, they might think it's true, but they don't believe they haven't internalized it. They don't live according to that belief.
You see the effects and the consequences of
not pursuing this. You see, people in secular society scrambling to avert death, to escape death, whether it's trying to prolong life, there are people that rich people, lots of money who freeze their bodies, right? hoping that someday, science is going to come up with some sort of technology to unfreeze you and bring you back and you'll live forever. There's people that do that.
Right? This is a
pursuit of desperation,
all the anxiety behind that orientation to life.
Other people, maybe they don't have so many resources available, but they want to prolong their lives as much as possible. Well, everybody does, of course, to a, some sort of extent. But there's some people that go to extremes. Some people that worry themselves away,
about their bodily health. What about this, what about that,
and will literally do anything to prolong their lives, individuals or their families, when it comes to end of life care. Some people are only alive, in some very, very shallow sense of the word.
Maybe their brain is just alive, maybe just their body is alive.
We see in our society, a reluctance to talk about death, or to face death, or to acknowledge it's inevitable, coming. There's a sign by the cemeteries out on Oneida street
that says something like, Have you prepared? Right? And at first glance, you would think that it's talking about like, spiritually, have you prepared to meet your maker? Have you prepared to face the end of your life? But no, it's not. It's just about financial preparation to have your, your grave site or your tomb or things like that. That's very emblematic of how our society treats death.
We budget for it. And we think about these sorts of things, but we don't like to talk about it.
We're uncomfortable by the ultimate reality because if you face the ultimate rat reality, then you have a, you have to exercise some economy over your life. Certain, all of the sudden, certain activities and pursuits don't seem as worthwhile. Your entertainments, which many people in our society are hopelessly addicted to entertainment
and so on and so forth. Your priorities would be different your relationships, you would not hold a grudge as easily or as long. The more and more you think about death
you would cherish your family relationship
If you think about death,
right, and so we see how what a blessing in disguise it is to have death because it makes us appreciate so much more and it makes us work so much more. And for those who believe,
once they cross over
the prospect of life without death
is one of the most satisfying and fulfilling and
ease will say relieving, relieving things that they could possibly experience. So Muslims, you know, we should not be afraid of death.
We should not be afraid to talk about it, we should not be afraid to remember it often.
How many people were kept on the right path because of remembering death.
What happens when you fear death is that you're able to be manipulated, and you're able to be controlled. As we've said in this class, many classes ago, anything that you love too much, or anything that you fear too much. It's very easy for the devil to play with you spooking you all the time, the devil just threatens you
with that what you fear the most.
Right, whether it's health, whether it's wealth, whether it's the your children.
Right, this is how the devil gets us to waste our time not pursuing the path not trying to obtain these elites qualities that would make us cooler fat. Representatives of Allah on earth, that would bring us closer to Allah subhanaw taala raise our rank and our station in Jannah. Closer to the prophets closer to the righteous people.
Right, the devil has got busy with all sorts of things, using our fears, dangling them over us, threatening us with them.
And also at the same time,
tantalizing us with things that we love a little bit too much.
So the Muslims should be careful.
To not fear death.
That's the first aspect of paradise, right? So life without end, eternal life. The second is perfect ability. Okay, now we don't all I would also honey doesn't mean perfect ability, like a laws ability. Okay, but he's what he's getting at here is the feelings of anxiety
due to our own shortcomings.
Think about in life, the person you wish you were
the qualities you wish you had
things that you're just not good at some people, they want to be uncluttered, they want to be organized, they want to be disciplined, they want to have a schedule, they want to memorize the Quran, they want to do all of this stuff. And they try and they do good for a little bit and then they fall off. This is the nature of life. Most people are like this, right? So that inability to bring about what we want to to achieve what we set out to do. That is a source of anxiety for us. Whether we turn it into kind of a guilty thing, and we think oh, I'm no good. Here I Go Again, I always make plans and I never can kind of accomplish them.
Whether we despair and give up. Whatever the flavor is a major source of anxiety in our lives, is this inability. So paradise removes this inability.
Whatever we want to accomplish, we want to be like there's some people that always like put their foot in their mouths when it comes to like
social graces, right, what to say or what to do. And then they walk away from the conversation like, oh, man, I did it again. Why did I say that? So all of that anxiety that that produces in paradise, it's all gone.
You're suddenly perfectly socially intelligent, you know what to say the right thing at the right time.
You know how to act, you know how to graciously receive you know how to graciously give,
You're able to learn you're able to do
you're able to be pleasant and affable and sociable all these things that all of us kind of.
We want to be in this life and to varying degrees we are or aren't and certain situations we are or aren't.
All of that anxiety is gone. And the afterlife, we have that ability, all those abilities that we wanted to have.
The third thing so we have eternal life, perfect ability, perfect knowledge. And again, all of us so he's not talking about a type of a law or a type of knowledge. That's exclusive
Have to Allah. He's talking about another human anxiety, right? We fear the unknown. Right? We fear the unknown.
We are bothered by our, our curiosity or our need to know. Right?
From when we're kids, we have siblings and they who I know a secret and they're not going to tell you, it bothers you. You want to know, why don't you want to tell me? Is it because you don't trust me? Is it because I did something wrong? Right? This is something that produces anxiety, not knowing.
So that anxiety will be removed in the afterlife, we will have the knowledge of what we want to have knowledge of or need to have knowledge of, and there will be no anxiety tied to uncertainty, what's going to happen, I don't understand, Oh, I'm going through a hard time in my life. I don't know how it's going to end. I don't know what's coming next. How is this relationship going to turn out? How is this marriage ever going to survive? How is this poverty ever going to be relieved? How is this disease ever going to be lifted from me? We don't know.
All of that not knowing is going to be removed in the afterlife. And so every anxiety produced by that absence of knowledge will be relieved.
And finally, the last part, so we have eternal life. Perfect stability, perfect knowledge. And finally, which is mentioned wealth without poverty.
Think about all of the needs and wants that we have in this life. Okay.
We have these things are normal, right? It's not necessarily we in the Muslim community, we think, okay, we should be the same whether you're poor or rich. And that is true. That is true. However, there are certain things about being poor, especially in the United States of America that are that are unjust.
Right? How landlords treat people,
landlords often, often abuse their tenants and take advantage of them.
Pay Pal play politics with them. And we've seen a lot of ugly things happen.
During the pandemic, when people have lost their jobs and they can't pay the rent. We've seen landlords tried to blackmail tenants in order to get certain things done for them.
In order to not evict them
right, being poor in the United States of America is a stressful thing.
No job security. Everyone blames you and looks down at you like you're some mooch, you're a leech. Even if you have two jobs, and you can't keep a roof roof over your head, you can't you don't have insurance, you have to decide
between toilet paper, and this or that, or the other, maybe some food items or diapers for the kids or
clean drinking water. All these sorts of things are reality, the United States of America,
how expensive it is to go to the doctor if you don't have insurance.
Right? How many people would get treatment for things, whether they're psychological things like therapy, or physical things, if they could afford it, how many people don't go to the doctor or the hospital?
Because they know they can't afford it.
Right? This is real. This is life in America. And so all of those anxieties, all of those needs are wiped away in the afterlife.
Wealth, without poverty, wealth without need, right, every single need that you have,
or every any single desire even
is going to be at your fingertips.
The moment it even occurs to you. The fruit bending over the tree bending overhanging the fruit low to you just so you can without even having to barely move
to pluck it off of the branch.
People serving you think about all of the language that Allah uses in the Koran, youth children walking around serving you.
This is Jenna and this is the pure,
the purest good, there is no good above this good. There is no purity beyond this purity
at all, but also honey. At the end of the section he says that this particular category of blessing
is not Mahoba it's not gifted, it's not bestowed or granted.
In an automatic sense.
It is earned Montesa
It's earned through effort.
It's earned partly through this entire project which he's been trying to sell you on for 107 pages, which is obtaining these elite qualities McHattie machete on
becoming a Kalita of Allah becoming one of the representatives of Allah on earth.
Through going through this process, you are earning the right to be put in a laws gender.
Just like Allah said, and sort of
woman at all after what Salah huh, Satya Ha, wha hoo. I mean, fola, you could count us out your home schooler
cetera Yeah, he says it's it's effort. Right? Well, then rather Akka whoever wants to ask you like what's our either has Satya and strived for it. It striving who paid the price? Who did the requisite action,
what who will not mean and believed key key condition.
But with a good kind of Saturday homework much cooler than they will have, they will have Subhanallah look at the wording of Allah, they will have sat your home, whatever was their effort, mascara will be recognized and will be thanked. So Allah is simultaneously saying that it has a price,
this gender, and for the people who strived for it, and believed
they will have their striving counted, and it will be granted for them.
So that's all the first category of blessing this after worldly bliss life. The second is, the second category of blessing is virtue,
virtue. So this runs back to the capacities that are all of us for honey discussed, right the three capacities of intellect,
desire or urge and anger. So, if they are developed into wisdom and intelligence, if they are developed into restraint, and modesty, if they are developed into courage and justice, then these are a particular category of blessings from Allah subhanaw taala.
And whereas the first category of blessing is something that is wholly earned,
in the sense that it has
causes that must be availed of in order to in order to gain it.
Because everything in some sense is gifted from a law, of course, but we're talking about, there's a process that you have to go through to get it. And if you don't go through that process, you're not going to get it. That's what a lot of us for Hani means when he talks about something that's more progressive, something that is earned. So virtue a little bit different.
It is somewhat gifted, but mostly earned. Okay, so now we're dealing with something that's kind of a mixed bag. Most of virtue is earned.
But some of it is gifted. And this is the Hadith we mentioned before, where there was a man who came to the Prophet salallahu Salam, after cleaning himself up after making himself smell nice. And then the Prophet SAW Selim praised him by saying you have two qualities that Allah loves, and Helen will enter forbearance and you take the time.
And then he asked the Prophet salallahu Salam, he said, Did I do anything to deserve this? Or was that Allah make me like this, and he said, Allah made you like this.
So it is true that sometimes virtue is bestowed. We start at different levels. Some people start with a, with a headstart, other people they start from scratch,
but most of it, most of it is Montesa. It has developed is earned.
Then he goes on the third category after the blessing of paradise, the blessing of virtue, says the blessings of the body.
And this category is the opposite of the last one. It's mostly gifted, and somewhat earned. Right? A little bit of it, and what he's talking about is health. Right? strength, beauty, and longevity. Right, and these are this makes sense. We take a second and think about this. What he's saying is true. Health. Yes, a lot of it is a good deal of it is earned, right? Our diet or exercise, these sorts of things, our lifestyle, but even the person who has perfect health and does all the right things. Don't we find that sometimes they get struck down with some disease, diabetes, cancer, something else. Even with the pandemic, we've seen it people who are perfectly healthy young people
COVID hits them and then Allah decreed that their life was over was over.
So this is something that is mostly gifted. Same with strength,
beauty, and longevity.
The next category, the fourth category, he says, are blessings that have to do with our activity or the
our normal human activity. Remember back when we said that the purpose of life is for Hani identified three, and they were in a hierarchy. The first was a matter of settling upon Earth. The secondary bad, it's a rough man worshipping, the Most Merciful, the third Khilafah to look, being Allah's Khalifa, he's talking here, these types of blessings have to do with the first level of our purpose, a mountain,
our livelihood, right, like things like
our livelihood, what we do for a living our family, right, and having a generally dignified life. These things he says, are purely gifted by Allah. Okay, we can take all of the means you can marry, you can,
you know, have intercourse, but who's going to make conception happen?
Allah, Allah gifts to you.
There are people who take the means and never see the results.
Right, of family and of livelihood as well. There are people that put themselves out there put themselves out there, and it doesn't matter what they do, Allah has willed that that person is going to be poor.
Right? So this is the kind of thing that he's talking about. And the last category of blessings, he says, are blessings that have to do with the method or or process that they kind of affect everything else that a person does. What is he talking about? He's talking about things like guidance,
and success, and persistence and aid, right? Things that are essential tools to your journey, that aren't located in any part of the body that aren't particularly part of any virtue, but are indispensable ingredients that help you gain virtue, indispensable ingredients that help you achieve Paradise, and so on and so forth. He has a couple summary thoughts to the end of the chapter, he says, what we've already said about the first category, the only pure good is the blessing of the afterlife.
Every other blessing that he mentioned,
is only good if it leads to the afterlife,
or benefits our afterlife in some way or another.
Because some of those other blessings
are only sometimes
beneficial to our afterlife, such as developing the intellect, right? There are people who develop the intellect. And it helps them gain the afterlife that helps them earn the right to Allah is genuine. And then there are other people who develop their intellect develop their intellect, and they only pull it towards a worldly end,
such as getting degrees
for the sake of it, right, not that getting degrees as opposed to doing something for the sake of Allah, we're saying that's only their goal,
to gain a sort of recognition, to gain a sort of status to be treated in a certain way to put that PhD in front of their name.
Right, some people have these goals, and that's why they develop their intellect to make a bunch of money, a lot of people do, right? So intellect is something that can lead to the afterlife, if it's applied correctly.
And then it's something that might not even if you develop it, you might only be you might have a narrow vision of what it can be put towards.
And then he says some of the blessings are even more often a hinderance towards Jannah than they are an aid such as beauty.
because beauty is a fitna upon the people who have it, right.
We see this especially in young women, but also in young men who know that they're attractive, who know that they're beautiful. It's extremely difficult to not respond and lean into the way that society is treating you better better and society is treating you differently because of your looks. It's extremely hard to resist the temptation to dress in a more alluring and more appealing way to accentuate the gifts that Allah subhanaw taala gave you. It's extremely difficult. For most people, it's a fitna it's a trial that they do not pass and for a small group of people
They handle it. And it is actually something that counts in their favor and gets them into paradise.
So along with also having he says that people need to put their blessings in the proper context, and put them to work for the bigger goal. And that many, many people are deluded, they have low aspiration, they have all these blessings, even if they recognize these blessings, but they're stuck with just lowly goals, all goals that have to do with the dunya. And so they they don't make them work in an efficient way. They're not firing on all cylinders, they're only getting them short, like short term, benefits, benefits that are all going to end once their life has ended. And even before that.
And so he says, Everyone needs to be careful with what they're really after in life, and everyone needs to sit down with themselves and really look at themselves in the mirror and ask themselves, what am I really, after, in this life, all these things that I'm doing during the day, what's the end goal. And he gives a nice little example, he says, so that you don't become somebody who wanted a rope, but instead grabbed onto a snake. And then it bit him.
Right? You think that you want intelligence because you think that you want it
to help get you into paradise, but along the way, you kind of lose perspective, you're a little bit intoxicated by the honor and the dignity and the status that it gets you. And so now your aspiration has been lowered, your only goals are kind of to manage this, either your popularity or the respect that you have with your colleagues and so on so forth. You've cheated yourself, you grabbed onto something, thinking it was going to take you to this high place and it's actually something that ended up being your downfall.
We need to be very, very careful to not turn into such people.
That takes us to the end of our time. There's a lot more than a dog well so honey has to say about it a different way of categorizing the good that Allah has given us in our lives. But inshallah we will start with that next time. Does anybody have any questions comments before we wrap up?
Yes, it is on YouTube. Someone commented on the live stream it is on YouTube, we download everything that we do live stream to YouTube, and that she has a YouTube channel and it's pinned to the top of the Facebook page if anybody wants to see any of the older lessons.
I mean what Yeah, well I hotel in Ireland. I set up my econ after that